Sunday, August 28, 2016

It looked like home!

Patrick Brown, the oldest son of Honora Kelly and Timothy Brown was baptized on November 26, 1830 in the Catholic Church of Patrickswell, Adare, County Limerick, Ireland.  Nothing is known of his early life in Fanningstown, the townland where the family lived.   The property they occupied consisted of about 25 acres.  In addition to a garden patch, they would likely have raised wheat and had pasturage for livestock – cattle and pigs.  Patrick grew up helping with chores and learning local farming methods.  It is interesting to note that Patrick was the only child of Hannah and
A portion of Page 3 of the David Brown Letter
(click to enlarge)
Timothy who farmed after they arrived in America.  Patrick was age 15 when the potato blight first hit Ireland.  The family continued on the property for the first couple of years of the famine; but, by 1848 things had gotten much worse and they left Ireland for Boston.  Patrick would have just turned 18.  Because of the death of his father, Timothy, before they left Ireland, Patrick likely felt an immense sense of responsibility for the survival of the family.  That is certainly indicated by the narrative of the David Brown letter shown above left.1  Earlier blog posts describe the journey to America, (The Voyage of the John Murray) their brief time in Boston (Boston) and their time in Vermont (Vermont).  It appears that the family split up when they left Vermont.  Most of them went to the Chicago area.  Patrick, and his younger brother, John, went to Ohio.

The first confirmed reference to Patrick in Ohio is a record for his oldest son, Patrick, who was baptized at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, on March 17, 1854.  The twins, John and Mary, were also baptized at St. Patrick’s on April 3, 1856.2   St Patrick’s is located at the corner of Naghten Street,
St. Patrick's, Columbus, OH
known as “Irish Broadway,” and Seventh Street, now Grant Avenue.3   I have consulted early city directories for Columbus and, although I found a listing for John in the 1858 edition living near St. Pat’s, I have not been able to find an entry for Patrick.4  By the beginning of 1859, Patrick was living in Delaware County, north of Columbus  where the next two children were baptized at St. Mary Catholic Church, Delaware, Ohio - David on January 1, 1859 and, Sarah on May 21, 1861.5   According to the 1870 US Census, another child, James, was also born in Ohio about 1863-4, but a baptismal record could not be located for him.

The 1860 US Census shows Patrick living in Concord Township, Delaware County, Ohio with his wife, Ann, and four children,
1860 US Census, Concord Twp, Delaware County, OH
(click to enlarge)
Patrick, (age six), John and Mary, (age four), and David, (age 1).  He is identified as a “farm laborer” with a personal estate worth $180.
6  Based on close neighbors listed in the census, I believe Patrick was living on the east side of the Scioto River across from the small settlement of Bellepoint in the north eastern section of the township. 

 Concord Township is located in the south west corner of Delaware County bordering Franklin County.   The Scioto River passes through the township.  The Post Office in the 1860 census is given as “Dublin” in Franklin County, quite a distance
Early map of Delaware County, OH from Perrin's History of Delaware County
Bellepoint identified on map (click to enlarge)
south of Bellepoint.  Early settlers in Concord Township describe the area as “picturesque” with, “primeval forests, rolling rivers, winding creeks, babbling brooks,  . . . green hills and fertile valley[s].”   It is also said that Concord Township was noted for an “almost impassable swamp,” “woods . . . full of wolves,” and numerous rattlesnakes, “often covering the driftwood in the river so completely that their mottled skins gave it the appearance of calico.” 7  

I remember driving through southern Delaware County as a young girl and visiting relatives in the Dublin area.  At that time, Dublin was a sleepy little village of streets lined with small limestone buildings.8  Dry stacked limestone fences also lined the fields in the surrounding area; and, while the fields and pastures lining the Scioto River were rolling terrain, land away from the river leveled out and was relatively flat.   I mention this because the first time I visited Ireland and drove through County Limerick, I felt rather let
Fanningstown area, from Google Earth
down.  I guess I was expecting something exotic.  I had just gotten off of an overnight flight to Shannon airport and jumped in a car to drive to Tralee by way of Patrickswell.  Needless to say I was exhausted and probably not very alert, but, I thought Patrickswell and the surrounding countryside looked rather common.  It didn’t dawn on me until later when we were driving in another part of the Ireland, (County Mayo), that the land there also resembled an area I was familiar with around Lancaster, Ohio where a different ancestor’s family settled.  Then it hit me - it looked like home.  There was a river, trees, stone fences, green fields, stone houses – it looked like home! 

Now I don’t know for sure, but, I suspect that had something to do with Patrick settling in Delaware County.  Whatever it was that drew him to the area, Patrick did not stay long -maybe it was the snakes.  By 1865, Patrick and his family were living in Belle Flower Township, McLean County, Illinois. Before we go there with the story, there is another document from Ohio that we need to examine.

In his letter, David Brown speculates on the possibility that Patrick was married in Boston.  We know this was not the case since Patrick is listed as “single” in the 1850 United States Census from Brandon, Vermont.  (See an image of that census in the “Vermont” post above.)  While he could have been married in Vermont9, there is some evidence that he was married in Ohio.  See the
Columbiana County marriage record, Volume 4, page 103
(click to enlarge)
marriage record on the right for Patrick Brown and Ann Burns dated August 16, 1851.10  James Monaghan, a Catholic priest at St.  Philip Neri, in Dungannon, Columbiana County, Ohio, performed the marriage.  Could this be the correct couple, and, what were they doing in Columbiana County, a very long way away from other locations known to the family?   

Columbiana County today is somewhat of a backwater; but, that wasn’t always so.  The southern border is along the Ohio River, a major transportation source in the mid 1800s.  Fertile farm land
Ohio counties: Columbiana is blue,
Delaware is green, Franklin is red
covers most of the area and there were rich deposits of coal and salt providing employment opportunities.  Railroads were being constructed in the 1850s. The Sandy and Beaver Canal, which connected the Ohio River to the Ohio and Erie Canal, operated from about 1848 to 1854.  A breach in one of the feeder lakes in 1852 lowered the water level in the canal making it completely impassable by 1854.  The canal passed through the towns of Hanover and Dungannon where there was a moderate sized Irish community that built and worked on the canal.11  Seven of the Irish families in the township had children that were born in Vermont. 

One of the families listed in the 1850 US Census for Franklin Township in Columbiana County was for a “Burns” family headed by “M.”  The wife’s name is given as Julia.  Two of the eight
1850 US Census for Franklin Twp, Columbiana Co., OH
showing the M Burns family (click to enlarge)
children listed were “Ann” and “Ellen.” 12   We know from family lore that Ann, Patrick’s wife, had at least two sisters, Ellen and Martha, and that her parents were Julia and Michael Burns.13    Ages given for Ann and Ellen in the 1850 census are consistent with later known records for the family.  Martha is not shown, but, could have been married by this time to a man who may have traveled through Vermont.  I have not been able to trace additional children shown on the census record.

I did contact the Youngstown Diocese (where St. Philip Neri is located), to see if records were available for marriages and baptisms for 1850 to 1854.  I specifically asked for information about a marriage of Patrick Brown to Ann Burns giving the information about the marriage from the county records, and a possible baptism and/or death record for a child named Ellen.14  The Chancellor of the Diocese responded that the records from St. Philip’s are “very hard to read and I have found nothing with the names provided.”  

Is the 1851 marriage record in Columbiana County for our Patrick and Ann?  The date and information for the couple is consistent with other records for the family and would provide validity to the story that their first child was named Ellen born, probably, sometime in 1852.  There is a US Census record for a family fitting the description of Ann’s family.  There is also even a possible connection to Vermont.  Jobs would have been lost about the time Patrick and Ann moved to Franklin County because of the collapse of canal business.  The information does seem to point to this being the correct record.  But, I would feel a lot more comfortable if there was information containing names of witnesses to the marriage and a baptismal record for Ellen.

The next post will be about Patrick’s time in Illinois.

1.       Brown, David Earl, Kewanee, IL, 11 May 1943.  Letter to Esther _______, Columbus, OH.  Letter contains genealogical information for the Brown Family from County Limerick.

2.       Wolf, Donna M., The Irish in Central Ohio: Baptisms and Marriages, 1852-1861, St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, Columbus, Ohio, 1991

Also verified through the Catholic Record Society, Diocese of Columbus, Columbus, Ohio.

3.       Ibid.  “St Pat’s” separated from the German community church of Holy Cross in 1852 and formed their own parish in the Irish area of Columbus around the railroad station and yards at the northern edge of the city.  It is now surrounded by businesses and a state college, but still boasts a large attendance at masses and other church functions.  It is truly the church of the “Irish” in Columbus!

4.       Williams, C.S., 1858-1859 Williams Columbus City Directory, City Guide and Business Mirror, J.H. Riley & Co., 1859. Directories for Columbus begin as early as 1843, but, there is not a complete collection with several years missing. 

5.       St. Mary Catholic Church, Delaware, Ohio is in the Diocese of Columbus.  Baptismal records were also verified through the Catholic Record Society, Diocese of Columbus, Columbus, Ohio.  The church is located roughly six miles from where the family was located in Concord Township and would have been easily reached by someone with access to a horse and wagon, such as a farm laborer.

6.       1860 United States Federal Census, Concord, Delaware, Ohio; Roll: M653-957, available online at  The record is indexed under “Paterick” Brown.  There were several large farms in the area where Patrick could have found employment.

7.       Perrin, William Henry, History of Delaware County and Ohio, O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers, Chicago, IL, 1880, pp 491-493, available online through Google books.

8.       Dublin is no longer a sleepy village.  Today it is a bustling community of nearly 42,000, and one of the fastest growing areas in central Ohio.  There are still stone fences lining pastures of more rural areas.

9.       The Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society, Baptism Repertoire, St. Mary, Our Lady of Good Help, Brandon, VT; including the Old St. Monica, Forestdale, VT Mission, Vermont Catholic Diocese, Burlington, Vermont, 2014.  Records for Old St. Monica, Forestdale, Vermont, where the Brown family lived in 1850, do not begin until 1856 – after records were found in Columbus, Ohio. 

10.   Columbiana County, Ohio, Marriage Records, Volume 4, Page 103, Columbiana County, Ohio.  Also available online at database, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013.”

11.   1850 United States Federal Census, Franklin, Columbiana, Ohio; Roll M432_669, available online at  A total of 1,164 persons were listed in the township with 224 giving their place of birth as “Ireland.”

12.   Ibid.  Marion located this information!

13.   US Census records, death records and tombstones do corroborate that the Burns family consisted of, at least, Michael, Julia, Ann, Martha, and Ellen.  It seems more appropriate to discuss the Burns family later when we look at John, the second surviving son of Hannah and Timothy Brown.  Additional information will be provided then.

14.   The David Brown letter states that there may have been a child named Ellen born shortly after the marriage of Patrick Brown and Ann Burns in 1851.  The first recorded child, Patrick, was born in 1854. If Patrick and Ann were married in 1851, it is very possible there could have been a child born earlier than Patrick.  It would also make sense that the child would have been named Ellen since Patrick’s younger sister, Ellen, died in Boston in 1849.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is absolutely amazing! It reflects such a wide-range of research with everything cited. Also, we stayed in Adare when we went to Ireland. I can't believe how close our families lived to each other.